The trial will combine Acorn's NC technology with BT's communications network and will be centred around BT's laboratories in Martlesham, Suffolk. The trial will provide network-based computing services for access by personal and small business customers.
The first phase of the program will involve 40 users while the next phase, scheduled for late 1997, will be broader and more commercial, rolling out to users in the Colchester and Ipswich areas.
Chris Wheddon, Director of BT Systems Engineering, said "our aim with this trial is to prove the technology and services over a six month period, ending in March 1998, with a base of 500 users."
David Lee managing director of the Acorn Group added, "we are already seeing that television is changing from a reactive entertainment forum into a fully interactive way of accessing information and, with the network computer, we are meeting the challenge of providing it at a low cost. With BT's experience in developing consumer-oriented content and our technology, this trial is destined for success. Network computers are so easy to use and this trial will help consumers get some hands-on experience of what they can do."
The deal with BT marks Acorn's continued thrust into the forefront of network computing and interactive television devices, a thrust which is expected to carry the company back into the black after years of red ink in its financial results.
Acorn can be contacted by telephone on 01223-254254